Concentrates Issue: Evergreen Herbal review

May 07, 2014 | WES ABNEY

With a full line of tasty, professionally packaged and properly tested medibles, the folks at Evergreen Herbal have never been busier.. We took a tour of their SoDo production facilities to see how concentrate edibles get so good.



From start to finish, Evergreen Herbal has found a way to build a product line around one extraction method: CO2 processing. 
     Just three years ago, CO2 was a fantasy in the Washington medical marijuana business. Today, with the influx of quality processing equipment, the method is being used around the state for everything from fully dabbable products to precursors for edibles. 
       For Marco Hoffman, Evergreen Herbal’s chief executive officer, the vision of using CO2 to change a market place has become a reality. Together with Delaney Toupes, the head processor for the company, the two have developed a product line with impressive depth and created an image among consumers that has helped bring medical Cannabis toward the mainstream.  

  The company chose to build around an Eden Labs CO2 processing unit for many reasons -- the main one being consumer safety and health concerns. But the choice goes beyond that, into the realm of efficiency in edibles and in improved taste for consumers.  
Evergreen Herbal’s line of products includes raw CO2 for dabbing, available in both Nug Run and mixed-blend options, and a new vaporizer cartridge containing raw product for use in vaporizer pens.It also uses food-grade CO2 for a variety of products, including lemonades and other beverages, herbal tea blends, candy bars, tootsie rolls and honey sticks. All products use the CO2 as a precursor to provide the medication that patients are looking for. 
      “We want that first taste of our oil to be good. Not tasting of chemicals, or propylene glycol, or a chemical sealed wick in a cartridge,” Delaney explained. 
      “CO2 preserves the terpenes, the flavonoids and the overall integrity of the medicine. We believe it makes for a much better product experience.” 
       evergreenherbal1.jpgBut if you think it was easy getting to this point, guess again. Marco and his partner have invested nearly $2 million into their production facility, with more changes and developments coming each month. In addition to equipment and the warehouse itself, a lot of energy and capital has been invested into developing the method of infusing the oil into their products.Each product requires using the oil in a different way to ensure it will have its intended effect in an edible. The biggest issue for the drinks was developing emulsifiers, which keep the medicine suspended in the liquid evenly. The process wasn’t easy to develop, and it has had its ups and downs. But what sets Evergreen Herbal apart is its willingness to always improve, and the investment they continue to make in the products. Today, it’s shipping more than 1,000 cases of drinks each week to a network of 250-plus collectives. 
      To fill those weekly orders, a complicated and involved process has to be carried out step-by-step, and the two were happy to explain it to us.     “Our machine runs 5 pounds of trim at a time, with 12-hour runs. It actually runs 24/7, always processing to keep up with the demand,” Delaney said over the throbbing hum of the machine. 
     “Before we can even run a batch we have to ensure that the trim or bud is going to meet our standards.” evergreenherbal3.jpg
     When product is brought into the facility, it immediately goes into isolation, where it is inspected for microbial growth and overall quality. If approved, it heads to the drying facility to ensure all moisture is removed. Dozens of racks fill the drying room, all separated by strain and date of intake. Once it has been approved, it heads to the extractor to be processed.
     During the course of a 12-hour run, Delaney or an assistant will draw off CO2 every half hour in the beginning, and less frequently as the run nears an end. This keeps the oil fresh and avoids recirculating through the filters, keeping terpenes at peak levels. It is then stored in a dark room for up to 24 hours, before heading to the secondary processing area. It is then either designated for raw use and de-moisturized for the filling of applicators or decarboxylated for use as food-grade oil. 
       If it is going to end up in a lemonade, the oil is turned into a powder, and after several proprietary steps, mixed into a syrup blend. Then the syrup is mixed in with reverse osmosis water, bottled and shipped off to a collective. Different processes happen for the other medibles, all revolving around the food-grade oil. 
      With the oil being used in so many ways. The company wants to ensure consumer safety and trust for the overall brand, and it has done a great job doing it. evergreenherbal4.jpg     “We want people to educate themselves about extractions and their medicine. Patients are going to make the choice of which product they are going to medicate with, and we strive to operate from a position of transparency,” Marco explained. 
     “Consumers have a right to know. And I’m a consumer too!” 

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